Property Wisdom – Give Your Home Eco-Appeal

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Energy-efficiency measures can boost a home’s value and ‘saleability’ not to mention keeping it toasty in winter, says property expert Laura Henderson.

With research by the Energy Saving Trust confirming that homebuyers these days are willing to pay up to £10,000 more for an eco-friendly home, embracing a greener living environment could help you on your way to a speedier sale. So what energy-efficient measures should you consider?

Cavity insulation
Most homes built after the 1920s have external walls made of two skins of brick with a small cavity in between. Filling this gap is a relatively inexpensive and simple process (costing anything upwards of £300 and taking just a few hours), but can save you big time on your heating bills. To find a certified installer log onto the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency website,

Window glazing
Single paned windows get the universal thumbs down in the energy performance stakes. But while good quality double-glazing can earn you energy brownie points, cheap PVC double-glazing alternatives will almost certainly devalue your property. Opt instead for earth-kind wooden double glazed units from the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC). Expect to pay £200 for a standard window, upwards of a £1,000 for a large sash.

Referred to as the “rural fuel”, Calor LPG has the lowest carbon emissions of all fossil fuels in non-mains gas areas and is increasingly being seen as the fuel of the future. Unlike oil, the storage of LPG doesn’t pose any pollution hazards to soil or watercourses and installation and set up costs are on average £2,500 less than oil.

Solar power
Running costs of solar are thought to be around 60% less than conventional water heating systems, with solar panels generating roughly a third of our hot water needs. A basic solar kit, with panels, heat transfer system and a hot water cylinder will set you back around £3,000. Panels don’t have to be on the roof, any sunny location will do.

Boilers account for around 60% of CO2 emissions. Any new boiler you install must by law be one of the HE (High Efficiency)‘condensing’ boilers – they recover more heat from the flue than older models and can save you upwards of £200 a year. A good gadget to accompany your new boiler is a thermostatic radiator valve (TRV), which regulates the temperature of your rooms. Relatively cheap to buy – they’ll save you money by keeping underused rooms at a lower temperature.

Heat-exchange systems
Growing in popularity in the UK, HE systems work especially well for new build homes and are often combined with under floor heating, giving you savings of up to 40% off your annual bills. Ground-source heat pumps use pipes laid underground in a loop or by digging down deep into a borehole. A typical domestic 8kw system costs between £6,000 and £10,000.

Laura Henderson is a property columnist, author and investment expert. Her latest book Tricks and Mortar: The Little Book of Property Wisdom (£12.99, Book Guild) is out now.

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